Update: Blowout: Fox debate may be the most-watched non-sports program in cable history. The next time you hear someone say Trump should drop out for the good of the party, ask yourself how many million viewers you’d be prepared to sacrifice to make that happen. Trump Show GOP Debate smothered the Jon Stewart final show 3.5 million to 24 million. Trumpnado!!!
If the GOP establishment spent half the energy and time to attack Barack Obama as expended this past month to take down Donald Trump…
It was the Trump Show last night. Trump was why Americans watched. But the Fox News “personalities” thought they were the stars – going so far as to hog the largest chunk of the time at the debate. The candidates? They got less speaking time than the Big Media corruptors of the political process.
Last night Fox News did everything it could to take down Donald Trump (if you doubt us, ask Lindsey Graham who agrees with us). The first question was phrased to isolate Donald Trump. It wasn’t “raise your hands if you promise to support the nominee of the party.” The first question instead was premised in the negative to force Trump to be the outsider raising his arm. It was a direct attack on Trump meant to isolate him from the rest of the field and the Republican audience watching the debate.
That first question could have waited for later in the show. Ask a bunch of policy questions and then ask Trump if he would support the party nominee. But the goal was to take down Trump and that is why the question was first and foremost.
Then the first question addressed specifically to Trump was the “War On Women” question savagely posed by Fox News star Megyn Kelly. Right at the beginning. When the biggest audience in an already huge audience was tuned in is when the sharpest attacks on Trump took place.
But that take down Trump strategy we believe helped Trump.
After the incessant attacks on Trump during the Trump Show debate, the Fox News assault continued. Megyn Kelly used her hour following the Trump Show to attack Trump. Charles Krauthammer declared Trump destroyed. Witness via video: Not very classy focus group dumps on Trump after debate. Yeah, it was a “kill Donald” operation. Other than Brit Hume stinking up Megyn Kelly’s show when he said Trump had not hurt himself at all that reality was kept at bay.
Once Brit Hume introduced the Fox News audience to the reality that Trump had not been hurt the possibility loomed that Trump might have been helped by the Fox News/GOP establishment attack. Enter DrudgeReport.
The first signs of trouble for the political class came from the results in a DrudgeReport poll. Trump won the poll massively.
After Drudge, the stars of the night came out: the comments section. Our comments section did the superb job our readers have come to expect. Our comments section was not alone however. Whether it was the Megyn Kelly Facebook page or the Deadline Hollywood site (which appeared to be Trump central as both the writers and the comments sections united in support of Trump) reality blazed forth like a hot sun.
Then this morning, Big Media anti-Trump outlets weighed in. It was not what Fox News and the GOP establishment expected. Trump trumped:
Fox News Couldn’t Kill Trump’s Momentum and May Have Only Made It Stronger
Judging by Thursday’s electric debate, he may have sensed his true opponent before anyone else had a clue: the network.
A few hours before Thursday’s Fox News debate, a friend of Donald Trump’s confided to me that Trump was nervous. Not about the competition—he could handle them. No, Trump worried about Fox News, and in particular, debate moderator Megyn Kelly. She’d been hammering him all week on her show, and he was certain she was out to get him. He’d canceled a Fox News appearance on Monday night, the friend said, in order to avoid her. (Trump’s spokeswoman wouldn’t confirm or deny this.)
It turns out Trump was right. His toughest opponents Thursday night weren’t the candidates up on stage, but the Fox News moderators, who went right after him—none with more gusto than Kelly. [snip]
But Trump saw her coming a mile away and cut her off. “Only Rosie O’Donnell,” he barked, drawing cheers from the crowd. When Kelly tried to point out that he had insulted more women than O’Donnell, Trump, as he would all night, steamrolled right past her. “The big problem this country has is being politically correct,” Trump practically shouted, invoking conservatives’ favorite term of disdain. “I’ve been challenged by so many people and I don’t frankly have time for total political correctness and to be honest with you this country doesn’t have time either.” The crowd went wild.
Maybe they were cheering because the question was apropos of something Rachel Maddow would ask, and they were, after all, Republicans. But I think they were cheering because it was clear, at that moment, that Trump was going to be Trump, and wasn’t going to heed the pundits and phonies to tone down his act. [snip]
But judging by Thursday’s raucous, electric debate, Trump may have sensed his true opponent before anyone else had a clue: It’s Fox News. Throughout the evening, Trump and his inquisitors battled back and forth like gladiators. Both parties emerged as huge winners. Though nearly devoid of substance, it was the most entertaining debate I’ve ever seen. [snip]
Hurling insults, Trump went after O’Donnell, political reporters, Bowe Bergdahl, China, Mexico, Japan, money lenders, and practically everyone in Washington. “Our leaders are stupid,” he said, “Our politicians are stupid.” He did stop short of calling Mexicans “rapists,” but not by much. “We need to build a wall, and it has to be built quickly,” he said. “We need to keep illegals out.”
While the moderators went after Trump, the candidates mostly shied away from him. In fact, consciously or otherwise, several echoed his points and nearly everyone tried to match his energy. Some even seemed to genuflect. “Donald Trump is hitting a nerve in this country,” Ohio Governor John Kasich said at one point. “Mr. Trump is touching a nerve because people want to see a wall being built.”
Only Paul mustered the nerve to launch a pair of (pretty weak) direct attacks. He might have regretted it. Trump dispatched him with a single, withering aside (“You’re having a hard time tonight”) that was all the more effective because it was true. [snip]
What’s more interesting than any Trump question or answer, though, was the larger dynamic at play. If Fox News has really turned on Trump, it will add a fascinating new twist to the race. Right now, Trump is the dominant candidate in the field because he has exerted a broad appeal to every part of the Republican Party. How might those Republicans react to Fox News—their own network!—aggressively trying to take down their favorite candidate?
To find out, I called Janet Roberts, 69, a nurse in Bellville, Ohio, who participated in last week’s Bloomberg Politics poll and supported Trump (“He has the balls to stand up to the career politicians”). She had agreed to give me her reaction immediately after the debate. When I called, Roberts was furious. “I had more emotion about Fox News tonight than I did about Donald Trump,” she told me. “Those questions were not professional questions. They were bullying. They were set up to purposely make them all look bad. Our country is a mess and I feel like the debate was an example of that. I’m still with Trump.”
In fact, Roberts said, after watching the debate, she felt even more strongly than before. [snip]
We won’t know for a few more days if other Republicans reacted to the debate as Roberts did. But my guess is that Trump didn’t hurt himself and might even emerge stronger than before.
For those who back faltering candidate and think Trump as the #1 in the field deserved heightened scrutiny the Fox News assault was music. But there was no “heightened scrutiny” of Trump. It reminded us of 2008 as Barack Obama proved himself a boob every time he debated Hillary Clinton and finally Big Media in the form of the fat drunken slob Tim Russert had to intervene to rescue Obama. Think these memories of Hillary2008 bias us in favor of Trump and against the unfair and unbalanced assault by Fox News last night? Here’s Trump hater Lindsey Graham:
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) is criticizing Fox News, saying the moderators of Thursday night’s debate were too harsh with GOP rival Donald Trump.
“This was more of an inquisition than it was a debate,” Graham said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday morning. “It was a missed opportunity to talk about things that really mattered.”
Graham charged that the debate moderators, Bret Baier, Chris Wallace and Megyn Kelly, were particularly unfair in their questioning of Trump, the outspoken billionaire who is leading many GOP polls.
“At the end of the day, ask the man a question that explains his position and his solutions rather than a ten-minute question that describes him as the biggest bastard on the planet,” Graham quipped.
The South Carolina lawmaker said that Thursday night’s contest resulted in a lost chance at addressing crucial issues like immigration reform.
“Did you really understand our position on immigration after this debate?” Graham asked.
Graham is right. It wasn’t that the Fox moderators–mostly Megyn Kelly and Chris Wallace, and to a lesser extent, Brett Baier–asked “tough” questions. I’m all for tough questions. But there’s a difference between “tough” and “snarky,” and I felt there was far more of the latter than the former.
Kelly and Wallace in particular spent precious air time framing their questions as ad hominem attacks rather than a quest to probe serious issues.
Indeed, virtually every major question posed by the Fox moderators began with an insult to each candidate. For example, Kelly’s opening question of Donald Trump was this silliness:
“One of the things people love about you is you speak your mind and you don’t use a politician’s filter,” Kelly said to Trump in the opening minutes. “However, that is not without its downsides, in particular, when it comes to women. You’ve called women you don’t like fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.”
“Only Rosie O’Donnell,” Trump interjected to laughter.
“For the record, it was well beyond Rosie,” Kelly shot back, noting that Trump had told one contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” that it would be a pretty picture to “see her on her knees.” “Does that sound to you like the temperament of a man we should elect as president?” Kelly asked.
Was anyone really clamoring for clarification about Trump’s disparaging remarks about women he has opposed through the years, including his remarks on a reality TV show? I, for one, had many more important issues that I wanted to hear about, and Kelly’s decision to highlight this “women’s” issue seemed more designed to feed Democrats’ “war on women” impression of the GOP than anything else. [snip]
This wasn’t an opportunity for Fox moderators to play favorites, attack the GOP field, regurgitate Democrats’ talking points, reiterate Democrats’ stereotypes about the GOP, and try to pit one candidate specifically against another. It wasn’t an opportunity for Fox moderators to “shine,” to show how smart they are, or to one-up specific candidates. I don’t care one whit which GOP candidates the moderators preferred personally. All I wanted was tough questions, sticking to the big issues of the day, and a “fair and balanced” opportunity to hear from each candidate. What I got instead was snarky, unprofessional, unnecessarily ad hominem questions that seemed more designed to embarrass than inform. I could have gotten that from CNN.
Et tu, Fox News?
Big Media is the enemy. The initials of the name don’t matter. The self aggrandizing “personalities” of Big Media are the problem. In 2008 the evil emanated from the reptilian Tim Russert. In 2015 it’s a viper with pronounced fake eyelashes. It’s nothing personal. It’s Big Media that every voter should despise. Republican, conservative, liberal, Democrats, Obama Dimocrats, Greens, moderates, all should be united in opposition to Big Media.
The Big Media personalities last night tried to slime Trump as well as the other candidates. The questions against Dr. Ben Carson were ugly and did not really illuminate what Carson thinks in any deep way. But the Carson personality came through, his intelligence came through, so he turned out OK.
Jeb Bush was a bit less fluffed than Obama was in 2008, but still fluffed with pillow soft questions. The softball questions only helped to disappear Bush into the background curtains. Kasich of Ohio had a favorable audience before him in Cleveland and that sorta helped him if Jeb Bush continues his slow fade of mumbles, stumbles and mush. Kasich helped himself only because his Florida ex-governor competition was such a failure. Walker disappeared too.
Ted Cruz came off very well. His answers were well crafted as we expected. His personality was not as insufferable as it usually is. Cruz did well but it was the Trump Show. Along with Huckabee, Cruz answered well, came off well, explained himself well. But both only survived. Well, maybe a bit helped because they survive.
Rubio? Rubio came off as slick and smiley. Next time he should keep away from the sun lamp. Rubio was too well packaged to come off well. Rubio’s well crafted plaster statue imitation suffered next to the mannerist art of Trump.
Loud-mouth Chris Christie? He suffered greatly. His exchange with Rand Paul was the best entertainment of the evening. Christie was great in words and demeanor. His flab was about to fly. But the Rand Paul ripost about the Obama hug seared. The Christie balloon hissed out in hot air from the Rand Paul arrow.
Rand Paul? Rand Paul was a terrorist bomb attack that turned suicide attack. His Obama hug attack on Christie was marvelous to hear. His attacks on Trump however failed spectacularly. Paul attacked Trump in a scene from the Godfather (‘you carry those politicians in your pockets like so much change’). Trump laughed at him.
Then Rand Paul tried to denounce Trump’s explanation of single payer health care (Trump thinks the Canadian model and the Scotland model works but does not think single payer would work in the U.S. – we know this from interviews at Morning Joe with Donald Trump not from the debate because the moderators were not interested in having issues explained.) Trump finished Paul off with a put down which will go down in the annals of debatedom along with “Senator, you’re no John Kennedy.”
“I don’t think you heard me. You’re having a hard time tonight.” That truth is, that Paul missed what Trump said against single payer in the U.S. and that Rand Paul was indeed having a very difficult time as his attacks mostly failed and his bid for attention ended badly. This Trump triumph has now been turned into Trump insulting the hearing impaired (Rand Paul uses a hearing aid) by Big Media outlets desperate to attack Trump with anything.
Trump trumped at the first debate for the very reasons the GOP establishment believes he was destroyed. Trump’s greatest moment?
The third best Trump moment was when Trump schooled the sneering Chris Wallace on business.
The runner up Trump moment of Triumph when Trump lectured Megyn Kelly on the degrading effects of political correctness:
The best, #1 moment for Trump:
The best moment for Trump is when he stood alone, in an arena filled with Republicans/conservatives, next to the major Republican candidates for president, in front of the stars of Fox News, before the biggest Fox News audience ever, and said, ‘I’ll stand with America… P.U.M.A.!